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Hood River Distillers’ New Forthwest Whisky Line Debuts

Hood River Distillers recently launched a new whisky portfolio, Forthwest Whisky.

David Ballew, Hood River’s president and CEO, said that innovating in the spirits industry means making more than just great products. “It means making powerful, provocative brands that have the potential to move their category in a new direction. Forthwest Whisky exemplifies this vision.”

He explained that the Forthwest Whisky portfolio includes four new products. Three are flavored whiskies with natural flavor blends … Shiny Apple, Giant Peach, and Spice of Life. And one is a five-year-old blended Canadian whisky.

Forthwest Whisky
Hood River Distillers recently launched a new whisky portfolio, Forthwest Whisky. (image via Hood River Distillers)

The Forthwest Whisky flavors are bottled at 80 proof, as is the five year old.

“Whisky is often positioned as introspective, traditional and largely looking to the past,” said John Russell, with Hood River’s marketing. “Forthwest is a timely and powerful energy about moving forward, regardless of the direction. Particularly after the last several years, consumers are craving optimism, fun and an embrace of the fabulous.”

Hood River’s master distiller, Joseph O’Sullivan, said that blending flavors with whisky is hardly new. “And we’re certainly not the first to do so, but we are leading the charge to take flavored spirits to a new level. While the whisky is an integral component, it’s the unique and custom flavor blends that elevate Forthwest whiskies.”

He explained that these are not “off the shelf” ingredients, but rather they are proprietary blends of natural flavors that combine with a three-year-old Canadian whisky.

O’Sullivan said he worked with a Canadian supplier to find the traditional smoothness expected from a Canadian whisky, while also providing notes of wheat and red fruit worthy … an attribute he sought for the Forthwest line.

The whisky was then brought to Hood River, Oregon, where it was finished with glacier-fed spring water from Mt. Hood, Oregon’s highest mountain peak.

Hood River’s Forthwest Whisky portfolio distiller’s notes:

Forthwest Shiny Apple Whisky 

  •  TASTE: A green apple nose is followed by the complexity of warm brown sugar, grapefruit, floral notes and vanilla on the palate.
  • ABV: 40%
  • SRP: $29.95 (700ml)

Forthwest Giant Peach Whisky

  • TASTE: The scent of peach fruit nectar, burnt sugar, honey and hints of oak on the nose are followed by a burst of peach skin tang, a light citrus twist, vanilla and baking spices on the palate.
  • ABV: 40%
  • SRP: $29.95 (700ml)

Forthwest Spice of Life Whisky 

  • TASTE: Orange peel and ginger on the nose followed by flavors of nutmeg, clove, cinnamon and butterscotch on the palate.
  • ABV: 40%
  • SRP: $29.95 (700ml)

Forthwest Whisky (Aged 5 Years) 

  • TASTE: Notes of vanilla, sarsaparilla and brown sugar mingle within a smooth whisky finish..
  • ABV: 40%
  • SRP: $29.95 (700ml)

Hood River distillers noted that Forthwest is environmentally friendly, including using a bottle made with 100% recycled glass. The brand also partners with the Freshwater Trust, a non-profit whose mission is to preserve and restore freshwater ecosystems, including rivers, streams and creeks across the west.

Forthwest Whisky is set to launch in the Pacific Northwest this spring, and will later expand nationally.

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